The celebrations of the Lunar New Year are an opportunity to share joy with our loved ones. But with the visiting family and friends, the running around town, and the constant eating, we often end up stressed, tired and sluggish.
In every tradition, the new year is also a spiritual opportunity. A year ends, never to be lived again. A new year begins, bringing hope and promises. While you cross the bridge between Pig and Rat, I invite you to take a few minutes every morning, in the quiet of your home, to reflect on the following topics.
Friday 24: Letting go. Before the new year, it is customary to clean our homes and make room for the new. Take a moment to reflect on what you should let go. What are you hanging on to that is no longer necessary? Papers cluttering your desk, old clothes piling up in your closets, relationships that are no longer nurturing and drain your energy? As you go deeper within, consider the beliefs, rules, and fears, that are no longer helpful to your personal growth. It’s time to get rid of the unnecessary weight and stagnant energies!
Saturday 25: Wealth. We often equate wealth with money. The Greek Stoic philosopher Epictetus said, “Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants”. There is so much more to wealth and prosperity than money: relationships, trust, friendship, energy, knowledge, wisdom and courage, to name but a few. What gives you energy and makes you feel rich inside? I trust a visit to the mall won’t be the answer.
Sunday 26: Gratitude. We tend to desire what we don’t have: a promotion, ‘likes’ on social media, a branded handbag, or a new phone. But true happiness is more about appreciating what we do have, moment by moment. Today, look for the small details that bring a sparkle to your life: a shower after exercise, the first sip of cold beer on a hot day, an unplanned date with your spouse, or passing the gantry just before the ERP kicks in.
Monday 27: Self-care. We get busy. We build careers. We have financial goals, responsibilities and families. Even those long-awaited holidays, with crowded airports and must-see must-do lists, bring us stress. Before you rush into your balancing act for another year, ask yourself how you will take care of yourself: time alone, moments of silence, a spa, a good book, or a yoga class. And then, block your calendar. If you don’t, there will always be something you think is more important to do.
Tuesday 28: Silence. Our world is incredibly noisy: traffic, construction, music in every shop and restaurant, and open-space offices. We are so used to noise that when we are in our car or at home, we often feel the need to turn on the radio or TV. What would a minute, an hour, or a day in silence be like for you? A day when you can finally hear your thoughts and your soul.
Wednesday 29: Food. Food plays a central role in our new year celebrations. Reflect on the choices you will make in the Year of the Rat. Would you consider fasting a day a week to let your body rest naturally? How about a couple of days a week without meat? We cannot aspire to a healthy life until we make conscious choices about our lifestyle. You may not be able to visit the gym every day, but you can decide what you put inside your body.
Thursday 30: Envisioning. We tend to overestimate what we can do in one year and underestimate what we can do over the longer term. Imagine being your future self, 12 years from today. Write a letter to your present self, describing your life, your work, your relationships and family, where you live, and how you feel about that life. This is a powerful exercise in imagination that should give you the energy to pursue your dreams.
Friday 31: Acceptance. Accept that we can’t plan every detail of our lives. It is time to let go of the illusion of control. Go back to the previous Year of the Rat 12 years ago: could you have imagined the life that you have today? And isn’t your life today, in many respects, awesome in ways that you could not have imagined? Take a moment to reflect on everything you believe will happen this year and when you are ready, throw it all away. Chances are, it won’t happen.
Singapore-based Fabrice Desmarescaux is a managing partner at Eric Salmon & Partners, a global leadership advisory and executive search firm. He is also an executive coach, yoga teacher, and spiritual retreat leader. Fabrice has previously been a partner at McKinsey & Company and has led the Asia Pacific financial services practice at global search firm Spencer Stuart.
Photo by Humphrey Muleba on Unsplash